Crime

While he worked for the Miramar Police Department, cops say he worked an $800,000 fraud

AP

A City of Miramar IT worker within the Miramar Police Department, the man who ran the city’s cellphone plan, concocted his own plan that made him $800,000, according to a federal criminal complaint.

That complaint charges 39-year-old Weston resident Brian Chen with three counts of mail fraud in federal court. He’s free after posting $100,000 bond.

The complaint describes Chen’s alleged scheme as follows:

Starting in 2013, Chen used his position to order cellphones through the Verizon “My Business” portal, thus getting the phones for free or at a significant discount. After paying for the phones with his personal credit cards and having them delivered to the office, he removed the phones’ SIM cards.

On the Verizon end, the company started a monthly service plan for each line. Chen used his position as the guy in charge of the phones to kill each service plan. Then, he’d sell the phones, at first individually, then in bulk. He used an online bank.

But, the complaint said, imperfection poked holes in the scheme that Chen ran until Nov. 29. Ordering so many phones, Chen couldn’t get all the plans killed. And those live plans cost the Miramar Police Department $350,000.

“Earlier this year the Miramar Police Department discovered an anomaly with fluctuation in billing for equipment and services,” Miramar Police Chief Dexter Williams said in a Thursday statement. “We immediately conducted an audit and initiated an investigation. Its findings resulted in the department reaching out to the FBI, to independently investigate alleged misconduct.”

The City of Miramar has put Chen, an employee since April 2007, on administrative leave without pay.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.


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